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Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 Sep;19(9):2786-96. doi: 10.1245/s10434-012-2382-7. Epub 2012 May 24.

Progression while receiving preoperative chemotherapy should not be an absolute contraindication to liver resection for colorectal metastases.

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Department of HPB and Digestive Surgery, Ospedale Mauriziano Umberto I, Turin, Italy.



Tumor progression while receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy (PD) has been associated with poor outcome and is commonly considered a contraindication to liver resection (LR). This study aims to clarify in a large multicenter setting whether PD is always a contraindication to LR.


Data from the LiverMetSurvey international registry were analyzed. Patients undergoing LR for colorectal metastases without extrahepatic disease after neoadjuvant chemotherapy between 1990 and 2009 were reviewed.


Among 2143 patients, PD occurred in 176 (8.2 %). Risk of progression was increased after 5-FU or irinotecan (22.7 % vs. 6.8 % after other regimens, p < 0.0001; 14.9 % vs. 7.2 %, p < 0.0001), while it was reduced after oxaliplatin (5.6 % vs. 12.0 %, p < 0.0001) and still diminished among patients receiving targeted therapies (2.6 %). PD was an independent prognostic factor of survival at multivariate analysis (35 % vs. 49 %, p = 0.0006). In the PD group, 3 independent prognostic factors were identified: carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) ≥ 200 ng/mL (p = 0.003), >3 metastases (p = 0.028), and tumor diameter ≥ 5 0 mm (p = 0.002). A survival predictive model showed that patients without any risk factors had 5-year survival rates of 53.3 %; good survival results were still observed if metastases were >3 or ≥ 50 mm (29.9 and 19.1 %, respectively). On the contrary, survival was less than 10 % at 3 years in the presence of >1 prognostic factor or CEA of ≥ 200 ng/mL.


PD is a negative prognostic factor, but it is not an absolute contraindication to LR. Patients with PD could be scheduled for LR except for those with >3 metastases and ≥ 50 mm, or CEA ≥ 200 ng/mL in whom further chemotherapy is recommended.

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